8:35 - Leave little Jimmy on the Pacific Crest Trail heading southeast 0.3 mile to Windy Gap. It’s a beautiful day with clear skies, mild temps, pleasant breezes, and the sweet aromas of the forest. I love this high country and am thankful that the gallant fire-fighting efforts kept the 2002 Curve Fire from coming over the ridge from the Crystal Lake Basin and destroying this forest too. Majestic pine, cedar, and fir reach into the deep blue sky.
Hawkins Ridge Hike - September 2-3, 2012). Today, however, the air is clear and the vistas are superb. We linger about 10 minutes then proceed about 200 yards up the trail heading west to Mt. Islip to tackle our first project for the day.
I am thoroughly enjoying the beauty of this high country. Wildflowers grace the landscape while towering ridges rut into the sky. It’s quiet and peaceful here. I look across the vast heart of the rugged San Gabriels and familiar mountain peaks elicit memories of many adventures. The distant Los Angeles basin filling the southern panorama is muted by marine haze.
hike I had coming up this ridge a year ago July and my encounter with a herd of bighorn sheep. No sheep today…just hoof prints and scat. I look northwest toward Will Thrall Peak and Pallett Mt. and think about my plans to climb them before the season turns. I love the beauty of this breathtaking scenery. I stop occasionally and my use my McLeod (half rake/half hoe) to do light trial work.
12:16 - Work site. A jumble of several large tree trunks blocks the path. The chainsaw gang has already begun work. It takes some training and experience in assessing the best plan of attack in dismantling this tangle of timber. Piece by piece we cut and clear and are able to complete the chainsaw work by 1 p.m. (the time set by the Forest Service to cease use of chainsaws). We finish muscling the remaining logs off the path then break for lunch. Fred arrives and appreciates our work.
Epilog - What a productive and fulfilling day! Beautiful weather, meaningful work, hearty exercise, spectacular scenery, rewarding four-mile hike, and great camaraderie swapping stories and just enjoying the companionship of good folks who love the outdoors. If you’d like to get in on the fun, come out and spend a day with the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders. Everyone is welcome. Workdays are on the first, third, and fifth Saturdays of each month. Visit the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders website to learn more.